The “Evil” Enamel Pin Club That Does Good
I just launched a pin subscription club called “The Evil Pin Club.” I know burying the idea of doing good under the title of “evil” might be a huge marketing mistake (see image above), but at the end of the day, if I ever wanted to make my new enamel pin club work, I really needed to combine two major parts of my life, that seemingly constantly conflict: the horror genre and the idea that more businesses should do good.
“Horror” and “Social Good” usually are not placed into the same category. While there’s some talk of horror actually helping people by giving them a dopamine ride or showing them that fear can be conquered safely, it’s generally regarded as the outcast of genre media, with many concerned parents trying to protect their kids from it (I had a friend tell me she had turned off my facebook feed since my paintings were scaring her daughter).
Regardless, trying to champion feminism with a genre that often relegates women to topless murder victims can be complicated, to say the least. Reconciling how “the Black guy always dies first” or HP Lovecraft’s rampant racism with Black Lives Matter isn’t always easy either (but thank you, Jordan Peele, for making this sooo much easier). That said, in the classic monster movies I watched as a kid, I often cheered for the monsters to win. Why? Because I related to the monsters.
As a kid, I read a lot of books. Mainly, because I could read much more horrific things in books than I was allowed to watch on TV or in the movies. I also read a lot of books because I was alone a lot of the time, and I also really didn’t like meeting new people because I had a speech impediment (I literally couldn’t even pronounce my own name correctly). So when I watched “Creature From the Black Lagoon” for the first time, I was sort of disappointed that the Gill Man was shot and killed at the end.
Sure, he had killed a few people, but they sort of freaked out and attacked him first. He was just chilling in his Black Lagoon when a bunch of scientist peeps came in and invaded. I thought it was vastly unfair. Godzilla saves Japan time and time again, but they still banish him to Monster Island. In fiction, often time good wins out over evil. The evil is banished, killed, or sent crawling home, while the good guys rejoice in their victory.
However, in the real world, I learned that “good” is often perverted for terrible purposes. When I was 8 years old, my aunt was stabbed to death by her husband, as supposed “good guy.” Popular kids pick on the “weird” ones. I grew up watching as police beat and kill the people they are supposed to protect. I watched as spiritual leaders take advantage of children they were supposed to protect.
Today, elected officials choose to pass laws that line their own pockets rather than helping their constituency. Men in power sexual assault their peers. A large part of the country supported a racist, lying, misogynistic egotist to lead the country.
If the mainstream “good” is like this, I figured, with my love of horror and my mission to make the world a better place, maybe it’s up to “evil” to change things up. This is why I started up the Evil Pin Club: the enamel pin club where Evil Does Good.
The Evil Pin club is a monthly subscription service powered by Patreon. Members of the club get limited-edition enamel pins that celebrate the horror genre. Whether it’s nightmares from global mythologies, cosmic horrors, or arcane artifacts and eldritch grimoires, the pin of the month will celebrate the darkness in film and books and tv, while supporting charities in real life.
Once a member pledges, they can pick an organization from a list of nonprofits that are fighting to make the world a better place. Once they select a charity, 13% (6.66% is too little, I feel) of their pledge will go to making the world a better place.
Whether you’re passionate about making clean water accessible for everyone, providing support and assistance for survivors of domestic abuse, providing educational materials for the next generation of leaders, or powering legal advocacy for international environmental law, there is something for everyone.
“But Rick,” you might be asking, “I don’t really put ‘progressive consumerism’ together with making enamel pins. Aren’t they not great for the environment? That’s not being good.”
Sure, weird disembodied 3rd-person voice, I understand your hesitation. After all, the metal plating process relies on cyanide- or acid-based solutions, and often pin manufacturing is done with questionable labor practices.
Enamel pins are basically only manufactured in China. Like, 100% of them. I’ve called most “Made in the US” companies, and a lot of them “assemble” the pins in the US, but still outsource the actual manufacture of the pins and the metal plating overseas, where there is often less regulation and more dodging of environmental rules. When I found this out, I was very turned off by the idea. However, to make my first set of pins, I ended up spending almost two months talking directly to manufacturers trying to find the right one. After all, there HAD to be one that was doing good by the environment and its workers.
I’m glad persistence paid off, as I was right- I finally found one that was internationally compliant with environmental regulations for their plating, and also had a 3rd party-verified Code of Conduct that basically prevents child labor, unpaid overtime, unlimited overtime, or other labor and environmental issues. I needed to rest assured that the pins I produce are the most ethical pins I can possibly make given the current realities we live in. It’s not ideal, but at least I can sleep soundly at night.
The added level of control over my pins I get from talking with the manufacturer myself has another bonus: the money I save from going direct-to-manufacturer is that I have the margins to be able to offer the 13% charity component. So all in all, I’ve found a way to finally satisfy that horror kick in me, while at the same time figuring out how to make ethical pins and give back to the community at the same time.
So. If you’re like me, a fan of horror and a fan of making a positive change in the world, I ask you to check out the Evil Pin Club and please spread the word. The world might be a little crazy right now, but it can change by the actions of awesome people like you, so I hope you join me in doing our little part while reveling in some dark creepy art at the same time. Thank you!
PS — If you want to donate directly to any of the charities I mentioned above without buying pins, you can support them at: www.charitywater.org, www.rainn.org, www.adoptaclassroom.org, and www.ciel.org. Click on them to learn more about the amazing work these groups are doing and support them directly!